Cleaning hard water stains from a glass shower door

Cleaning those unwanted stubborn stains off your glass shower doors can be a real struggle, but it can be even more of a nightmare for those living in hard water areas due to the higher mineral content. If you haven’t already invested in one of our water softeners, then those difficult, grimy spots that appear after every shower can become very time-consuming and a pain to eliminate. 

Clear shower doors add to the aesthetic of your bathroom, making it feel brighter and more spacious. But, if a constant build-up of soap scum prevents them from looking shiny and clean, this can have the opposite effect.

In this guide, we’ll talk you through the best ways to remove hard water stains from your glass shower doors for a crystal clear, unclouded shower.

Why Does Hard Water Stain Glass Shower Doors?

Naturally, hard water contains more minerals like calcium and magnesium than soft water. These minerals are left behind when you use your appliances, like running a tap, boiling the kettle, or taking a shower, leaving deposits on whatever your water comes into contact with. This eventually causes a build-up, resulting in chalky calcium carbonate stains (also known as limescale). 

The first thing we suggest you do is to look into getting a water softener. Without one, you’ll find yourself scrubbing and cleaning your bathroom more often than if you had one installed. Having softer water will reduce the number and frequency of stains on your shower doors and other appliances and offer many other advantages that your home and health could benefit from, like smoother hair and better skin.


White Vinegar

When cleaning your glass shower doors, white vinegar is an excellent, less expensive, safe household product that effectively removes stubborn hard water stains. If you don’t have any to hand and want to start cleaning immediately, mixing vinegar from your kitchen cupboard with water in a bottle will do the trick. 

Vinegar’s acidity breaks down the dried minerals responsible for those scum-like stains. Simply spray the vinegar on your shower doors and let it soak for about 15 minutes, giving it enough time to effectively work into the calcium carbonate stains, making them easier to combat. Once you’ve waited for a sufficient amount of time, use a soft sponge to gently scrub away the build-up (just be cautious not to scratch the glass).

Lemon Juice

When life gives you lemons, use them! Lemon juice contains citric acid, a compound that helps to demolish calcium deposits. You can slice a lemon and rub it directly over the hard water stains or spray it on using the same method as above. After leaving it to soak, start scrubbing, then rinse and dry. Opting for lemon juice in a natural and environmentally conscious way of tackling hard water stains. 

Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is alkaline and is a great, non-toxic substance for cleaning the grime off shower doors. First, you’ll need to mix some baking soda with a few tablespoons of water to make a paste. If you prefer, you can opt for baking soda and vinegar for extra strength (just make sure to do this in small amounts as it can foam up).

Once you’ve created a spreadable paste, layer it directly onto your shower doors and let it soak for a decent amount of time. After about 30 minutes, wipe and scrub away the remnants with a wet cloth and wash away. Then, use a dry cloth to get rid of any excess moisture. 


Another effective way to remove really stubborn hard water stains is to use ammonia. Unlike the other home remedies mentioned above, this solution is highly irritating and can cause serious side effects like burns and eye damage if not used carefully. We strongly recommend wearing gloves, goggles and a face mask when dealing with ammonia. Safety always comes first!

Ammonia’s strong, corrosive nature makes it an excellent option for cleaning those headstrong spots that won’t disappear! It’s also particularly great for glass surfaces, as it evaporates quickly, leaving a streak-free finish.

Soak a soft, gentle cloth in the alcoholic solution (don’t forget the gloves), and gently rub it into the glass doors. You could also try mixing ammonia with water, spraying it onto your shower, and leaving it to work through the soap scum. So, when you start wiping away, it’ll be less effort, and that grime will come off much easier.

We suggest leaving your shower doors open for a while, as it will help eliminate ammonia’s strong smell. There’s also no harm in opening your bathroom windows for some extra air circulation. 

As with all these methods, once you’ve washed away the residue, we recommend wiping your shower doors dry with a microfibre cloth for a streak-free, sparkling finish!

We hope this guide has given you some valuable tips to get your glass shower doors to shine again. Dealing with hard water stains can be challenging, costly, and demanding. So, if you’d like to know more about our water softeners along with the benefits of soft water, visit Kinetico water solutions today.